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Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Mahatma Gandhi
1869 - 1948
Indian pacifist

The online learning series

Basics of Website development

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us
A YouTube Video by Michael Welsh, Kansas State University

There are many tools which will enable you to create clear, effective websites. The same principles can be applied to all digital communication. If you are new at the game, it is helpful to

  • Gain an understanding of effective websites
  • Fit your concept into a process of design
  • Have fun creating your website!

Summary of design:

  • Identify your audience:

    Motivate your audience: treat them with respect
    and provide proactive feedback opportunities;
    Establish clear, measurable web site objectives or design purposes;
    Acknowledge reactions, effort & success,
    and built in help for failure to meet expectations

  • Content

    Focus and define your website content
    Language should be simple, understandable for a global audience
    Promote scanning content for important concepts
    Build in white space
    Prioritize your information, as with an outline or concept map

  • Navigation:

    Layered (site maps);
    Organized (think "outline")

  • Incorporating graphics
    Developing websites begins with its text and structure. After the basic structure is developed, the content should be analyzed as to what would benefit from illustration whether line or photographic graphics


  • choose a background and text colors with high contrast
  • use a browser safe palette
    to be consistent across platform and browser
  • format text consistently
    avoid color changes;
    avoid italics (hard to read), color changes, and underlining (mistaken for links);
    avoid overly-large text
  • avoid textured backgrounds
    that make it difficult to read
  • illustrate content with simple, symbiotic, scaled (small), stagnant (non-moving) graphics
  • avoid "dancing dogs":
    graphics that show off but do nothing for content
  • file formats: compressed (.jpg) photographs, and drawings in (.gif)

Here are some helpful sites:

Web Design
extensive topics from the University of Minnesota Duluth

Web Style Guide
Patrick Lynch, Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media; and Sarah Horton, Dartmouth Curricular Computing, Dartmouth Didactic Web. One of the best comprehensive guides to the design of websites ( (18 February, 2004)

The basics and the latest on HTML
World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] founded in 1994 to develop common protocols for the evolution of the World Wide Web. Here you will find pointers to specifications for HTML, guidelines on how to use HTML to the best effect, and pointers to related work at W3C (18 February, 2004)
Forums | Gearing up | Exploring | Sharing | Learning

Pegasus Web Design Resources
features web design, graphic design and Adobe Photoshop tutorials written by Daniel Piechnick, a professional Web Designer based in Adelaide, South Australia. He tries to keep the web design and graphic design tutorials on this site as original as possible, and creates new tutorials regularly. (18 February, 2004)

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design
(18 February, 2004)

Top Ten Mistakes of Web Management
(18 February, 2004)

Jakob Nielsen authored the above two "Top ten"